Puppet

( 4 )

Overview

A heartbreaking episode in history, explained through the story of a young servant girl in the late 1800s.

The year is 1882. A young servant girl named Esther disappears from a small Hungarian village. Several Jewish men from the village of Tisza Eszvar face the ‘blood libel’ — the centuries-old calumny that Jews murder Christian children for their blood. A fourteen-year-old Jewish boy named Morris Scharf becomes the star witness of corrupt authorities who coerce him into ...

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Puppet

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Overview

A heartbreaking episode in history, explained through the story of a young servant girl in the late 1800s.

The year is 1882. A young servant girl named Esther disappears from a small Hungarian village. Several Jewish men from the village of Tisza Eszvar face the ‘blood libel’ — the centuries-old calumny that Jews murder Christian children for their blood. A fourteen-year-old Jewish boy named Morris Scharf becomes the star witness of corrupt authorities who coerce him into testifying against his fellow Jews, including his own father, at the trial.

This powerful fictionalized account of one of the last blood libel trial in Europe is told through the eyes of Julie, a friend of the murdered Esther, and a servant at the jail where Morris is imprisoned. Julie is no stranger to suffering herself. An abused child, when her mother dies her alcoholic father separates her from her beloved baby sister. Julie and Morris, bound by the tragedy of the times, become unlikely allies. Although Puppet is a novel, it is based upon a real court case that took place in Hungary in 1883. In Hungary today, the name Morris Scharf has become synonymous with “traitor.”

Once again, Eva Wiseman illuminates a heartbreaking episode in history for young readers.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

 “The tension builds to the trial scenes, and the climax is electrifying with its public drama on the witness stand and the heartbreak between Morris and his dad. Adults will want this, too.”
—Starred Review, Booklist
 
“…the book offers a valuable look at a historical phenomenon that contemporary readers would find difficult to comprehend; the subject matter will compel their attention.”
—Publisher’s Weekly

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly

An infamous late-19th-century trial in Hungary serves as the basis for Wiseman's (My Canary Yellow Star) dramatic novel, which introduces the anti-Semitic propaganda of blood libel. When Julie's best friend, Esther, disappears, only Julie, the narrator, looks to Esther's life for clues. Everyone else in her small village rushes to accuse the even smaller community of Jews-the villagers know that Jews use the blood of Christian children to make "their Easter bread." As Julie's efforts to offer evidence are silenced with threats (by her father and others), village officials coerce a "Jew boy" into false testimony. The author levers Julie into key positions in the plot too neatly, and the history does not run deep-readers won't get a sense for the roots of anti-Semitism in Hungary. These shortcomings notwithstanding, the book offers a valuable look at a historical phenomenon that contemporary readers would find difficult to comprehend; the subject matter will compel their attention. Ages 11-up. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9

The theme of anti-Semitism is at the center of this novel set during the Hungarian blood libel trial in 1883. Poverty, despair, and grueling physical work make up the lives of the adults and children in the village of Tisza-Eszlar, where the Jewish and Christian communities are segregated yet intertwined in daily business. Julie, a Christian teen, works as a servant in the local jailhouse and is concerned about her friend Esther, a poorly treated maid. When she disappears, her crazed mother claims that the rabbi and the kosher butcher killed her daughter for her blood to make matzoh for the upcoming Passover holiday. The ills of religious superstition, prejudice, and false accusations are told from a first-person perspective through Julie. Witnesses are produced, including Morris Scharf, the young son of the accused rabbi. Morris, like a puppet, is manipulated and coerced into falsely making claims of watching the alleged crime, until Esther's drowned body is discovered in the village's river with no physical evidence of her death by a slaughterer's knife. Taking her cues from the actual trial transcripts, Wiseman develops a dialogue-driven account ranging from emotional hysteria to serene justice. And while the crux of this event revolves around the trial, Julie's personal struggle with her own abusive father detracts from the realistic drama unfolding for the real victims in the case. Still this is a plausible retelling of a little-known episode in the long history of anti-Semitism.-Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770492967
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 10 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Hungary, Eva Wiseman came to Canada with her family when she was a girl. She began writing at a young age, and her first young adult novel, A Place Not Home, was a finalist for numerous literary awards across North America and was selected for the New York Public Library’s annual Best Books for the Teen Age list. Her second novel, My Canary Yellow Star, was also shortlisted for several awards, won the McNally Robinson Books for Young People Award, and was selected for the New York Public Library’s annual Best Books for the Teen Age list. Her novel No One Must Know was equally critically acclaimed and won the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award. Her novel Kanada was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award and was the winner of the prestigious Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction. Eva Wiseman is the mother of two, and she lives in Winnipeg with her husband.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Lines

    Screan goes black_ Narrator: "there was darknes, until a light shone." _ Zorgagroz dress glows and the lights turn on _ "but the world remained black." Xtosk: "my daughter, last of dragon females, where do you hide, make me the father." Zorgagroz: "never, never! You shall not." _ zorgagroz dress falls off to reveal human clothes _ "i curse myself by the moon." (More at next res

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2012

    Amazing!

    One of the best books I have read, and I read alot! She uses amazing imagery, foreshadowing, and suspense techiques in order to make is feel as if we are part of her story!!! Love it!

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A gripping novelization of true historical events

    "...When I read The Last Song by Wiseman, I was impressed with her ability to fictionalize such awful and tragic historical events in a way that is engrossing without trivializing them. I was just as captivated with Puppet. This book won multiple awards, and it's not hard to see why; I read the majority of this book in one night...While this book is marketed as juvenile fiction, I would recommend it for adult readers of historical fiction as well..."

    For full review, please visit me at Here Be Bookwyrms on Blogger:

    herebebookwyrms dot blogspot dot com

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Evoking emotions!

    I had to read this book for a Children's Literature course this last semester in college. At first, I felt I had gotten the worst book assigned, but once I began reading- it was hard to put down. This book is very dark and one that can strike every emotion you have. I have found myself angry, crying, happy and laughing a little throughout this book. it is very touching and has a good moral to it. Great read for all interested in corruption of authority and rebellious acts!

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